When you go to the Disney Parks, you ride Space Mountain, have a turkey leg, don a pair of Mickey's ears, and get your picture made with one of your favorite Disney stars. From favorites like Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and all the classic princesses, fans young and old can rub elbows and hobnob with all of their beloved Disney characters.
As weird as it sounds, there have been a few occasions where Disney has staged meet and greets that are well outside the Disney brand. They may have appeared as a seasonal special, an arrangement with their home companies, or some other bizarre negotiations, but for a time you could have met these other famous faces in the Disney Parks. Here are some of the weirdest non-Disney characters who appeared in the parks.
10 Mr. & Mrs. Easter Bunny
We're kind of cheating here as these are technically Disney-fied versions of characters in the public domain. But because they aren't truly owned by the house of mouse, we'll put them on the list. Truth be told, Disney's version of the Easter icon is probably the least creepy version of the mascot you could meet. Gotta love those Disney eyes, right?
Disney's Easter Bunny looks like a close relative of Thumper and appears regularly during the Easter season. Accompanied by his lovely wife, Mrs. Easter Bunny, Mr. Easter Bunny can be seen in Epcot and during the Disney Easter parade. Because of their seasonal appearance and public domain status, they open up our list with a rainbow of pastels and a bevy of eggs.
9 Santa Clauses
Before you get on our case about including another public domain holiday character, consider the following. You can meet the man in red in just about any mall in the world during the Christmas season. But only at Disney World can you meet not just Santa Claus, but also his other international incarnations as well. At Epcot, Disney unleashes a legion of Santas to spread holiday cheer.
True, you can meet the American classic at Disney's Hollywood Studios, but at Epcot, you can see St. Nick as he appears in British, French, and Netherland cultures, as well as a few other international holiday figures. We applaud Disney for showing that Santa can go beyond the big red suit.
8 Lucky the Dinosaur
Lucky the Dinosaur was a magnificent work of Disney Imagineering, but not without a few bugs. This stegosaurus was the first fully roaming animatronic and, at the time, was one of the most advanced creatures Disney had ever created. He could respond, communicate, and even sign autographs for the guests.
Don't get us wrong, this was a genius project for Disney. At the end of the day though, this was still a prototype. Plus, despite Lucky's child-friendly appearance and approachability, a walkaround dino seems like something Universal would have done. He was an odd addition to the Disney Parks in his brief career, but not without merit.
7 Indiana Jones
Before Disney was in league with Lucasarts, the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular was still outside Disney's wheelhouse. Think about it, Indy was great, but his films involved fighting Nazis, raiding tombs, sacred ruins, and recovering religious paraphernalia, usually while bedding a different love interest at the end of the day.
Alright, we might just be picking on the good Dr. Jones, but seeing him in a Disney Park is still a little bit out there. Not that we don't approve of the famed adventurer showing us his moves, just unusual to think of the series as a Disney property. We're looking at you, Temple of Doom.
6 Avatar Mechs
With the world of Pandora bringing Avatar into the majestic Animal Kingdom in Disney World, we have a magical marriage of exotic wonders and science fiction. Though these giant mechanical suits resemble the destructive forces used in the film, a reimagining by Disney and James Cameron have given them a new role to play. Plus, they give a more interactive feature to the land.
These new mechs are designed to tackle the planet's treacherous terrain, collect samples, and study the wildlife Pandora's ecosystem has to offer. Naturally, this is all part of the immersion to the world. Furthermore, it shows what can happen when two imaginative sources work together.
5 Dick Tracy & Company
Believe it or not, through Touchstone Pictures, Disney released a film adaptation of the crime-fighting adventures of Dick Tracy. The film was known for three things, Madonna's performance as Breathless Mahoney, Al Pachino's chameleon-like portrayal of the film's villain, and the phenomenal/grotesque makeup effects that created the signature look of the film's mob. Sounds perfect for a live stage-show, right?
Disney briefly had a show at their MGM Studios park called Dick Tracy Crime Stoppers. In the show, the titular detective would go head to head with Big Boy Caprice and his hoard of monstrous-looking mobsters. Seeing these caricatures on the page is one thing but in person is another affair altogether. They're not exactly the picture of a beloved face of Disney. Definitely calling this one out as strange.
4 Power Rangers
Before they were sold back to Amblin Entertainment, Disney had full ownership of the Power Rangers franchise and even attempted to incorporate them into Disney's Hollywood Studios. At one time, guests could interact with different Rangers from different series. Unfortunately for Ranger fans, their stay with the parks was short-lived.
After seeing that the franchise was not nearly as popular as they would have hoped, Disney sold the rights back to Amblin. This obviously meant that the rangers would no longer be seen in the parks, parade floats or otherwise. We'd have to say they do tend to stand out against the Hollywood aesthetic of the park.
3 Ace Ventura
We're not gonna lie, meeting this crazy character would be B-E-A-Utiful. While this idea might sound as wacky as the great Jim Carrey, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective had its own stage show at Disney MGM Studios. Ace Ventura: Live In Action was a show that featured the titular character in a goofy stunt show worthy of the pet detective's line of humor.
From rescuing a giant spider to scaling down a building and swinging like Tarzan, the show was typical MGM/Hollywood Studios flair followed by a meet and greet with the man himself. We're pretty surprised to see him associated with the parks, but we would have still liked to see this event.
2 Tom & Jerry
Okay, we know these two are nowhere near the Disney name. Still, why were they seen at a Disney park as a pair of meetable characters? While it's true that Tom and Jerry are not creatures of the Disney species, they did have a long history with a little studio called MGM.
While it was still Disney MGM Studios instead of Hollywood, Disney had Tom and Jerry from the famous Chuck Jones cartoons as meetable characters. Though the duo definitely fit in with the likes of Mickey and Minnie, we can't say their appearance in the parks isn't unusual. When they were sold back to Warner Bros, they ceased to appear in the parks.
1 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
We've had Ace Ventura, Tom and Jerry, and even the Power Rangers, but none of them come close to the Heroes in the Half Shell. Before Kermit and the rest of the Muppets took over the streets of New York in Disney MGM Studios, the party was crashed by Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo, and Raphael with their very own stage show. Talk about one of the weirdest crossovers ever.
In the early days of the Disney MGM park, seeing these guys was actually pretty common, perhaps due to Jim Henson's involvement with their first film. They'd do their stage show, show off some of their totally awesome moves, and then do a meet and greet with their legions of fans. Hard to believe these radical reptiles once dwelled in the house of mouse.